Zion Church and World War II

The peaceful development of the church was once again interrupted when the Second World War drew near. Again Germany was the enemy, and many younger immigrants had to go through the same hardships and pain which a generation before had had to endure. One hundred and fifteen men and four women of Zion answered the call to the colors. A special committee ministered to these servicemen and women in a spiritual as well as material way throughout their service. Five of the heroes did not return from the battlefield and the seas.

Link to Stones of Zion

At the home front, the congregation concentrated on the war effort. Unforgotten is the day in May 1942, when Pastor Fritz O. Evers on behalf of Zion Church committed the ambulance “The Pioneer” to the hands of the American Red Cross as “the gift of Zion Church for the work of mercy and in honor of Dr. Charles Frederick Wiesenthal.” The gift was accompanied by a considerable check for the purchase of blankets. As during the First World War, the Parish House was again opened to servicemen on furlough, on all weekends, for lodging and a breakfast on Sunday morning. More than 15,000 men were accommodated from 1942 until 1945.

Every Wednesday the “Zion Church Group working for the American Red Cross,” composed of many women, met to sew and knit for the soldiers. The regular work of the congregation was not impaired by these additional activities. All these challenges resulted only in a firmer union and closer understanding among the members.

After the end of the war when the boys returned home, there was no respite from these additional tasks.  The war had spread poverty and disaster over many regions of Europe; Germany especially was suffering from its aftermath.  Zion Church joined without delay in the relief work of Lutheran World Action.  Money, food, and clothing were contributed to an extent which excelled any previous effort of its kind.  This share in the common effort of all Lutheran Churches in America again strengthened the bonds between Zion and the Lutheran Church at large.